Metal-to-metal sealing technology is an innovative type of medium to high expansion seal that uses compliant metal as a pressure barrier and incorporates an extraordinary seal performance envelope that cannot be achieved by conventional elastomeric seals. Zonal isolation tools, including bridge plugs and straddle systems, using metal-to-metal sealing technology in place of conventional elastomers may radically challenge existing engineering philosophies by providing a pressure sealing system capable of exceeding the limitations of other existing sealing technologies and eliminating many traditional elastomeric failure modes.

The metal-to-metal seal has the potential to change the way downhole equipment provides pressure integrity during pressure pumping operations by utilizing a controlled application of load to expand the metal seal to achieve a fully formed pressure barrier which allows for the metal-to-metal seal in bores of up to 160% of the original seal diameter.

In the well servicing market, recent applications of the metal-to-metal seal and the latest lab testing have suggested the prospective of the technology for products for not only the conventional markets but also in the hostile HPHT arena. Metal-to-metal sealing technology could make well suspensions and intervention possible in hostile HPHT wells that were previously deemed inoperable by the complete removal of elastomers from the design. Demonstrating versatility in applications on land to deepwater locations, metal-to-metal sealing devices can be easily deployed on slickline, electric wireline, coiled tubing, or drill pipe to save operator rig time in areas where cost savings are critical.

Case studies of the high performance characteristics of the metal-to-metal sealing technology in terms of design, testing, and implementation will recognize its alignment in regards to conventional elastomeric sealing technologies as well as high-expansion inflatable technology.

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